Travellers vaccinated with Bharat Biotech’s Covaxin will now be able to enter the UK, as the vaccine has been added to the approved list. This means that those inoculated with Covaxin, one of the two major COVID-19 vaccines in India, will not have to self isolate following their arrival in England.

China’s Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have also been added to the UK’s list of approved vaccines, which is advantageous for people from the UAE and Malaysia.

The approval of Covaxin follows the WHO Emergency Use Listing for the vaccine, in which it was found to have 78% efficacy against COVID-19 of any severity, 14 or more days after the second dose. It has also been approved by the US, as all FDA and WHO-approved vaccines are to be recognised by US authorities.

Covaxin and Covishield have now been recognised by as many as 110 countries, including New Zealand and Australia, according to reports. Both vaccines are extremely suitable for low- and middle-income countries due to their simple storage requirements.

These were the first two vaccines to receive emergency use authorisation (EUA) from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) for the nationwide vaccination drive earlier this year. Covaxin is the first COVID-19 vaccine to be made in India, and it was developed by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech International Limited. The latter is an Indian make of the AstraZeneca vaccine and is produced locally by the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII).

Earlier in November, British High Commissioner Alex Ellis wrote in a tweet that the UK would recognise Covaxin as a valid COVID-19 vaccine for travel in the last week of the month: "More good news for Indian travellers to Great Britain. From 22 November, travellers fully vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine recognised by WHO for Emergency Use Listing, including Covaxin, will not have to self isolate; so joining those fully vaccinated with Covishield."